How to: Chicago

Please enjoy this tutorial of how to take on the city (and suburbs) of Chicago.

Before you go: Plan a trip to celebrate the end of your internship (and the official end of college for you) by having a final visit with one of your best friends before she moves across the country.  Spend weeks anticipating the weekend, and then forget an important stack of clothes on your bed.  Nobody needs underwear, right?  Right.

Step 1: Accidentally drive THROUGH Chicago during rush-hour.
Bonus: Only have one anxiety attack.
Step 2: Arrive, and immediately be offered a glass of wine, eat the most delicious pizza with REAL, ENTIRE STRIPS OF BACON ON IT, and then sit outside by the fire pit with friend and her incredibly hospitable parents.

How To: Chicago | Candidly Kelsey

Step 3: Take the commuter train into the city the next morning.
Bonus: Ride the train for free because the conductor forgets to check/sell tickets.
Step 4: Take stereotypical tourist pictures.

How To: Chicago | Candidly Kelsey

Optional: Take somewhat confusing tourist picture. (It’s the Leaning Tower of Pisa Pose. Get it? Eh? Ehh?)

How To: Chicago | Candidly Kelsey

Step 5: Stop into Water Tower Place (mall?) when your feet begin to hurt, accidentally stumble upon a wine bar while looking for a coffee shop.  Oops?

How To: Chicago | Candidly Kelsey

Step 6: Return to place you are staying that evening, proceed to get ready for the Party Trolley.
Step 7: Party on said trolley, cruising the city while drinking vodka lemonades and yelling at pedestrians on street.  Don’t forget to stop and take a gorgeous picture of the skyline.

How To: Chicago | Candidly Kelsey

Optional: Pick up a pedestrian who just happens to be wearing a shirt that proved he went to your college.  Don’t ask any questions when he jumps on the back of the trolley.  Just roll with it.  It’s fine.
Step 8: Exit trolley.

How To: Chicago | Candidly Kelsey

Step 9: Let’s not talk about it.
Step 10: Leave city the next morning, return to suburbs.
Bonus: Leave your wallet, your favorite make up brush, and your dignity somewhere within the city.  Ask no questions, except “How do I cancel my credit cards?” and “What are the odds someone is going to steal my identity?”
Step 11: Enjoy final moments with one of your best friends before she moves many many hours away to start her big girl job.  Feel too broken from loss of pride (and license) to cry about missing her.
Step 12: Accept money from your friend’s amazingly gracious parents to help you get home.  Stop in NW Indiana to visit ex-roommate/other best friend for one day.
Step 13: Watch the Bachelorette Finale from her hot tub, and then sit around fire until 2am.  Try not to cry that college is officially over, summer is almost over, and real life is actually happening as friend discusses moving to law school.  Ignore the fact that you have no idea what you are doing with your life.
Step 14: Wake up entirely too early, and drive the last three hours home, still without wallet.
Bonus: Accidentally order $12.00 worth of fried chicken at a rest stop with precious, precious gas money.
Step 15: Shower off the last shred of embarrassment (and the chicken smell), and muster up the courage to go to a job interview.

How To: Chicago | Candidly Kelsey

Step 14: Rejoice. You are now gainfully employed as a waitress.
Step 15: Use your college diploma to soak up your tears while you go shop for black pants and non-stick shoes.  Tomorrow is the first day of training.

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5 Quick (and dirty) Health Tips

Quick and Easy Tips to Start Feeling Healthier NOW | Candidly Kelsey

 

My life dream is to work with people on improving their health.  I want to be the nice Jillian Michaels (with a slightly bigger ass).  But as I am still without the certifications after my name that says I am qualified to instruct others on improving their well-being, I thought I’d offer up my opinion on some basic health matters by sharing 5 Quick (and dirty) Health Tips:

1. Drink more Water

I am actually cringing even as I write this, because this is the most overused health tip in the history of Yahoo! Health articles, but it still holds true.

SCIENCE LESSON: Your body uses water in EVERYTHING. Water is a major part of your muscles, your blood, your organs, and your cells (to name a few things).  When you become dehydrated, that means your body is missing the water to keep things running the way they should.  This could result in low blood pressure (less water = less water in your blood = lowering the amount of blood you have because water isn’t diluting it like normal = feeling sluggish because not enough blood is pumping and delivering things like oxygen to your organs), muscles that aren’t working to their potential, dizziness, fainting, headache, etc.  All of this adds up to us not feeling the best that we could be, making this change simple: Drink more water.

There are plenty of simple ways to add more water to your daily life:

  • Get a cute water bottle.  Carry it with you 24/7, and drink often.  Or, if you want to stay super dedicated, you can even write on the water bottle body-builder style to time your water intake throughout the day.
  • Set phone alarms.  This one is my personal favorite.  I have an alarm that goes off at 1pm, 4pm, and 7pm.  I am for 100oz of water per day, and whenever those alarms go off, I check my progress.  If I’m slacking, I drink a few glasses.  Eventually, it becomes a habit.
  • Drink a glass of water before every meal.
  • Stop drinking soda/juice/gatorade during the day, and replace it with water.  Bing, bang, boom.  Less calories, less sugar, more water.  It’s a win-win situation.

For your entertainment, see: My cute water bottle, a hand-painted 52 oz Bubba Keg (originally made for festive alcoholic consumption, is now my favorite water bottle).

Quick and Easy Tips to Start Feeling Healthier NOW | Candidly Kelsey

2. Increase Your Fruits and Veggies Intake

Notice I said “increase” not “get a totally-unrealistic-amount of servings per day”.

If you are a person who eats very little, or literally no whole fruits or vegetables, then trying to suddenly start eating 3 servings of each per day will be really hard.  This is where people tend to get scared and shy away from making healthy choices.  You don’t have to cut out all of your favorite foods to improve your health. You can benefit from even adding a little bit at a time.  Start off by eating a little bit of fruit with your breakfast in the morning, or have carrots and hummus as a snack (try any garlic hummus that’s on sale next time you’re at the store– trust me), or add a vegetable side to your lunch or dinner.  Start small and work your way up to more.  The most important thing to remember is to not overwhelm yourself or you’ll quit before you even start.

3. Eat Breakfast

Eating breakfast starts off your whole day.  You have literally gone from NOT eating for the 8+ hours you were asleep, and maybe a few hours before that.  A good rule of thumb is to start off the day with a breakfast containing a good amount of fiber and protein.  Though sugary cereals and bagels are delicious (real talk, have you ever had an asiago bagel? YUMMMMM.), replace the refined carbohydrates with protein and fiber to stay fuller for longer.

Some ideas include:

  • Breakfast burritos in whole-grain tortillas, include eggs, peppers, onions, salsa, a meat like sausage or bacon (organic or grassfed if you can manage it!), and a little sprinkle of cheese.  Sorry, am I drooling?
  • Greek yogurt with berries, a sprinkle of chia seeds or flax meal, and a dash of cinnamon
  • Whole grain or ezekial toast (made with sprouted wheat) with almond butter, banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Green smoothie: small spoonful of Greek yogurt, toss in some spinach or kale (or other dark leafy greens of choice), half of a banana for sweetness or a tiny spoonful of peanut butter or almond butter for taste, and a few ice-cubes.

For more ideas, do a little Googling! There are TONS of ideas out there for healthy meals!

4. Cook Your Own Food

It’s easy to eat healthy if you make your own food!  Not only is it more economical to buy your own food and prepare it at home, but YOU get to decide what goes in it!  Control the sodium, the excess fats, and the flavors by preparing it all.

Restaurant Burger: Questionable beef cooked on a grill greased with butter, slapped refined, white flour bun that was probably also coated in butter, processed cheese-like product, sauce of questionable origin, and fried, probably recently frozen, french fries.

– OR –

At-home burger: Turkey burger patty (or organic beef!) on a skillet greased with a healthy oil (coconut oil?), served on a whole grain bun or in a lettuce wrap, topped with fresh veggies of choice, cheese from antibiotic-free cows, and home-made sweet potato (or regular potato) fries cooked in the oven.

Which would you rather have?  The internet is FULL of recipes that are so much easier than they look, and will make you feel like the winner of Chopped.  If I had a dollar for every time I have announced my new title as “Top Chef” just from successfully completing a recipe, I’d have more than enough to remain unemployed.

5. De-Stress

I can’t stress this one enough (ba-dum, tissssh!).  Having constant stress wreaks havoc on your body in many ways.  The hormones released when your body undergoes a “fight or flight” situation, AKA you feel stressed, are not meant to be in the body for an extended period of time, and can drastically change the way the body normally behaves.

Chronic stress has been shown to do a number of things to the body, including:

  • cause weight gain that is unrelated to lifestyle changes (no diet or exercise changes)
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • hormonal changes that can cause anything from mental and emotional problems, to skin problems (rashes, hives, acne, premature aging, etc), to reproductive problems
  • significantly increase the risk of heart attack or stroke
  • significantly increase the risk of heart disease, or coronary artery disease
  • stomach pain, including the development of chronic gastric issues
  • muscle aches

 

I could go on forever about the negative health implications of living chronically stressed.  In this age, we tend to praise those who are super busy and super successful, but not think of how that lifestyle could be affecting our health.  It’s important to take time to unwind and relax at the end of the day, or work actively to make sure you don’t become incredibly overwhelmed in your life.

Another Google search can turn up valuable tips and tricks to reduce the amount of stress in your life, but here are some of my favorites:

  • To-Do lists: Daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly to-do lists can break up the stress that having a very hectic schedule can provide.  Turn big projects into less stressful, easier to approach chunks, or pace yourself as you prepare for a big upcoming event by turning it into manageable tasks.
  • Schedule: Get a planner and write things down.  Seeing everything in front of you can help you prepare so you don’t feel suddenly overwhelmed by life.
  • Learn to say “no”! If you’re already super overwhelmed, don’t take on more if you can avoid it.  Saying no doesn’t make you rude, or unhelpful.
  • Take up a relaxing hobby.  Reading, writing, watching TV, knitting, painting, exercising, gardening, crafting, reading blogs, cleaning, cooking, baking, puzzles, video games, decorating… anything can be a way to relax if you truly enjoy it.
  • Exercising and eating healthy.  NEVER underestimate the stress-relieving power of a good workout, or the energy boost and clear mind that a healthy diet can have.  Find something you enjoy, such as long walks, running, weight lifting, taking a dance class, a spin class, kick-boxing, or doing a workout DVD.  Find something fun and active and you’ll be amazed at how clear-headed you feel afterwards.

A little bit of stress is okay, but nobody should feel continuously overwhelmed, worried or anxious. Work on controlling your stress, or relieving it to add years back to your life. Nerd Alert: If you are interested in this phenomenon (and also in the field of health disparities), pick up the book “The Status Syndrome” by Michael Marmot, as he discusses this in length in relation to those who are less fortunate and how being in a stressful life situation (less education, less job security, less income, living in a violent area, etc) causes major health problems due to the chronic stress an unfavorable life can cause.  It’s a really eye-opening book.

And remember: if you’re ever feeling completely overcome, or worried that you are experiencing anxiety or depression that feels completely overcoming or is affecting your daily life, the bravest thing you can do is reach out for help. Talk to your doctor, a friend, a family member, or anyone you’re comfortable with.

 

Hope these helped.  Any questions? Feel free to contact me via the “About” page!

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12 Thoughts While of Moving Out of Your First Apartment

I had this really witty idea while driving home from Bloomington (aka riding shotgun in Dad’s truck, RIP: My Butt) about doing the “12 Stages of Moving Out Of Your First Apartment” a la the 12 Steps of Addiction… But then I felt it would not be politically correct and/or would be insensitive.  Or I just felt so superior about the whole thing (and my amazing comedic skills) that I didn’t feel the need to write the idea down, and promptly forgot all of my thoughts.

So instead, I present:

12 Thoughts While of Moving Out of Your First Apartment

12 Thoughts While Moving Out of Your First Apartment | Candidly Kelsey

1. I hate cleaning.

2. Movers. Now I understand why this industry flourishes.

3.  I don’t think I’ll ever get the smell of bleach out of my clothes/hair/hands/skin/nose.

4.  Also, maid service.  That is also a profession that needs more appreciation.  Maid Parade?

5. I really should’ve made housekeeping a bigger priority when I lived here.  There is no reason there needs to be THIS much dust on baseboard.  And how does dust even collect on walls? It’s a vertical surface.  Shouldn’t gravity have taken care of that?*

6. When in the HELL did I purchase a cake stand?! (But really. WHY in the world did I have a glass cake stand? I vaguely remember purchasing it at the GoodWill before moving in, thinking I would be super cute and domestic, and have all this time after classes, studying, working, sorority commitments, and Congress to do things like BAKE A F’ING CAKE. Goodness gracious.)

7. Who cares if it’ll get scratched? Shove all the furniture on the trailer, strap it down and let’s go.  Did I mention how under appreciated moving/packing services are?  Such a great and noble profession.

8. Why did I not buy booze for this?

9. I’d really like to take a shower, but all my towels are cushioning my shot glasses, and coffee mugs.  So like… Priorities.

10. I really hate cleaning.

11. Maybe if I shove toothpaste into the nail holes in my walls, they won’t notice them during the move-out inspection. (HINT: IT TOTALLY WORKED, everyone needs to try this. YOU’RE WELCOME!)

12. Shit. This means I officially live with Mom again, doesn’t it?

 

Final thoughts? Say it with me again now: Mo-ving Ser-vice.

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Destiny’s Child: Fate (Sorry, Beyonce)

Lady Fate has been kicking my ass lately.

I am a big believer in Signs From The All-Knowing Creator Of The Universe (<— insert your chosen higher power here).  Sometimes, when I am having problems making decisions (see: always), I attempt to cheat the system by telling myself that somehow there will be a sign from the Universe telling me which is The Right Way.  Usually this is a load of bullshit and I just end up procrastinating with no direction until the very last second, but lately this style of decision-making has been on point.

Example: For the last few months, I have been toying with the idea of moving to California.  I’m young, I’m unappealing– whoops, I mean– unattached, and could really land anywhere I please at this point.  I went to visit family in Anaheim not too long ago and immediately fell in love with the Los Angeles area (and the idea of finding a hot hipster boyfriend), so it only makes sense that I try this out while I’m young.  Plus, when I inevitably fail– because, let’s be real here, I do not have near the people skills required to move to a whole new state [again]– I will still be young enough that it will be socially acceptable to crawl back home to Mommy or Daddy.

Talking About Fate | Candidly Kelsey

And as I am telling myself this, I still keep finding excuses to not make this super scary, financially risky and life-changing theoretical move.  However, Lady Fate keeps throwing signs my way: perfect job postings in Orange County, getting “California” as the place where I should live on Buzzfeed Quizzes (AKA the internet bible), people actually telling me things like “You know where you should go? California!” or even being offered rent-free temporary housing in LA.

It’s like enough, enough already.  I get it. I should probably move.

…Right? Maybe? I’m not sure. Can someone pass me a Xanax?

But I digress (and will continue to put that thought off for yet another day).

Now back to the current moment: the second official post on my cute little blog.  As I sat down to write, I was at a loss for words.  Though I have been told numerous times that I should blog because my Twitter is hil-ar-i-ous (humble brag, humble brag, humble brag), putting my thoughts that are greater than 140 characters out for others to read (or mock) is absolutely terrifying.  Who am I to say anything that anyone would actually care to read?  As far as I’m concerned, I have no authority in this world, no real voice, or important purpose.  I’m merely a bored kid (adult?!) in Ohio.

Cue: Fate.

I stumble across a post on the Internetz entitled “7 Ways You’re Making Blogging Harder Than It Has To Be“.  It basically cited every single insecurity about this little writing experiment I’ve had since tweeting my blog URL yesterday.  Right down to the “I’m afraid of the Negative Nancys'”.  Thanks, Lady Fate.  Way to hit the nail on the head.

Which brings me to my long-winded conclusion: Fuck it.  Fate sent the sign, I saw the sign (Who else just sang the song in their head? Just me? Oh.) and I shall listen.  I will write.  And maybe I will move to California (LOLOLOLOLOL). Or maybe I will go get another glass of wine, watch another episode of Orange is the New Black and.  Who knows.

Until next time.

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Testing, 1-2-3?

(Oops, I moved from WIX.com to Blogspot (and as of 1/10/16, now on WordPress!). I needed that RSS feed availability, sorry ’boutcha.)

As this is the inaugural post on my new procrastination toy… I mean, totally serious blog project of mine… I feel like there should be some pomp and circumstance or I should have a really moving opening statement of purpose.  As usual, however, when I want to produce something of worth, my mind is completely blank.  Typical.

An Introduction to Candidly Kelsey

I am starting this blog because post-graduate life is boring.  Especially when you chose to go to an out-of-state school, and then are forced to say goodbye to all of your best friends to move back home (see: rent-free, and rubbing Mom’s feet for $25 dollars at a time because you are currently working as an unpaid intern, and still need to find a way to pay your phone bill and feed your Chipotle addiction).

To sum up: my life is sad, I am unemployed, and I have a lot of thoughts and ideas with nobody to share them with.  So I did the blog thing.

(Is this post interesting? Boring? Is anyone still reading? Is my grammar horrible? Was this just another miscalculated idea that I will eventually abandon, much like starting Insanity or that juice cleanse?)

There will probably be a smattering of different posts, including a lot of my 2am thoughts, some health and fitness ideas, tips and tricks, and some bragging pictures of any cool things I may happen to do (LOL).  Or this may be the first and only post, and I never share this link with anyone, and this will forever disappear into cyberspace.  Which is also a very possible outcome.

So hello. Welcome to my blog. I hope I do not disappoint… and if I do, I really don’t care.

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